Monday, 20 May 2019 edition

SingCham Weekly: Indonesia $412b plan to rebuild country 

Monday, 13 May 2019

Indonesia sinks three foreign vessels for illegal fishing

The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry’s Illegal Fishing Task Force (Satgas 115) recently sunk three foreign vessels captured for fishing illegally in Indonesian waters off Belawan, Medan, North Sumatra. Satgas 115 deputy chief Yunus Husein said the vessels had been seized as evidence of illegal fishing practices in the country’s waters. In 2019 alone, courts ordered 51 vessels to be sunk for the crime.

‘Ojek’ driver in Medan achieves mother’s dream, wins seat in city council

Erwin Siahaan, 36, an app-based ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver from Medan, North Sumatra, has won a seat in the Medan Legislative Council for the 2019 to 2024 term, the Medan General Elections Commission (KPU) vote count has revealed. He said he entered politics to follow his mother’s wish. Unfortunately, shortly after expressing support for her son as a legislative candidate, Erwin’s mother died.


SG Cares app updated to make volunteering easier

It is now easier to do good, with changes to an app run by SG Cares – a national movement to promote volunteerism. The updates make it easier and faster to search for volunteering opportunities near you and that best suit your interests, as well as to sign up for them. Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin said this would, in fact, build on the legacy of Singapore’s forefathers who laid the foundations of a spirit of giving.

Pakistan to get US$6b from IMF to meet foreign debts

Pakistan and the IMF have reached a new agreement securing a US$6b bailout for the cash-strapped country. The agreement marks Pakistan’s 22nd bailout with the Fund, as the country struggles to stave off a looming balance-of-payments crisis while its economy teeters due to low growth, soaring inflation, and mounting debt.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Freeport to pay Papua portion of disputed surface water tax

A dispute between the Papua provincial administration and PT Freeport Indonesia over a surface water tax has been resolved after Papua Governor Lukas Enembe met with Freeport Indonesia president commissioner Richard Adkerson at the Freeport McMoran headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. The two parties agreed to a Rp 1.39t (US$96.4m) surface water tax, which was smaller than the amount the Papua administration wanted but bigger than what Freeport was initially willing to pay.

Global economic risks have worsened, brace for challenges ahead

The global economic situation has worsened following China’s latest retaliation in its escalating trade war with the United States. This could pose significant challenges for Singapore’s economy in the coming months, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said. On Monday, China said that it would impose tariffs on US$60b worth of US goods from June 1, in retaliation to US president Donald Trump’s decision to slap higher tariffs on US$200b worth of Chinese imports last week. There were hopes that negotiations between the world’s two largest economies — underway since December last year — would lead to a trade deal. However, these appear to some observers to have all but disappeared with the latest tit-for-tat salvos from both parties. Stock markets around the globe have suffered heavy falls as the trade war escalates.

Amazon extends lead as top retail brand

Amazon has almost doubled its brand value to US$316b as it expands in areas like entertainment and smart speakers, while China’s Alibaba is now the world’s second most valuable retail brand, a survey showed. The value of the Amazon brand jumped 91%, while Alibaba’s rose 48% to US$131b , according to an annual ranking from ad group WPP and its data analytics unit Kantar, which combines financial performance with consumer surveys in more than 50 countries.

With cancer rates rising worldwide, oncologist shortage predicted

World Health Organization projections suggest that the number of people who will need chemotherapy will rise steadily over the coming decades. Unless something is done, there won’t be enough specialists to deliver those life-saving treatments, researchers report in The Lancet Oncology. The number of patients who should be getting chemotherapy is expected to rise from 9.8m to 15m by 2040. And two-thirds of those patients will be from low- and middle-income countries.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Fraudulent website asking public to give bank details

A fraudulent website carrying an article attributing comments to Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and asking people to sign up for an online platform has emerged. The article, titled “Josephine Teo on driving innovation and financial freedom for Singapore”, also asks users to provide their credit card or bank details and to make deposits. The article features an image of Mrs Teo on what appears to be a CNA programme. The Manpower Minister said that the website is “highly deceptive and misleading”. It mixes some facts about the updated Employment Act to trick readers into believing the whole post. Please be warned that the statements attributed to me about launching the online platform are completely false.

Singtel posts lowest annual profit in 16 years

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd posted its smallest annual net profit in 16 years partly due to the intense competition faced by its regional associates in India and Indonesia. Singtel, Southeast Asia’s largest telecom operator, reported a net profit of S$773m ($565m) for the quarter ended March, almost flat versus the year-ago period. Its underlying net profit, which excludes exceptional items, fell 15% to S$697m. “Intense competition has affected the markets in India and Indonesia this past year,” Singtel CEO Chua Sock Koong said.

S$4,100 to rent a movie at home

Rosen and Dan Fellman have quietly founded Red Carpet Home Cinema, which rents first-run films for US$1,500 to US$3,000 each. Red Carpet also arrives at a time when the movie industry is undergoing sweeping change with Netflix is challenging the traditional way that films are released. How big could Red Carpet get? There are more people who can afford it than you might think. Nearly 46,000 Americans have annual income of more than US$2m, according to Social Security Administration data from 2017. Rosen and Fellman, however, insisted over lunch in mid-March that they were not interested in size.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Dirgantara to produce composite parts for Airbus, Boeing

Dirgantara Indonesia, a supplier of aluminum wing components for Airbus SE’s A320 and A380 model jets, is developing the production capability to supply non-metal aircraft parts as well. The expanded production plans would support the Indonesian government’s efforts to reduce the nation’s dependence on commodities and narrow the current account deficit. Dirgantara, based in West Java, expects its latest 19-seat propeller plane, the N219, to obtain certification from Indonesian regulators this year.

Facebook is the worst: Rudiantara

Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara has criticized Facebook for not complying with government requests to block hoax content on the platform. “Facebook can tell you, ‘We are in compliance with the government’. I can tell you how much content we requested to be taken down and how much of it they took down. Facebook is the worst,” Rudiantara said. “Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Google comply with what percentage of [requests]? We have all the records,” he said.


Singapore urges US to accept China’s rise

Singapore urged the US to allow China to have a greater say in shaping global rules to avoid a prolonged clash that could force smaller countries to choose between the world’s biggest economies. Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said it won’t work to view China as an adversary that must be contained and called for “constructive competition” between the superpowers. A world that splits into rival blocs would jeopardize gains made under the US-led world order over the past 70 years, he said. Singapore wants both a sustained US presence, which we believe is positive, and we also want China to be able to assume its rightful place as it develops and becomes a superpower in its own right.

Police smash cybercrime network that stole US$100m

Police in six countries have dismantled a complex cybercrime network that operated from Eastern Europe and fleeced victims: including small businesses and charities: of some US$100m. The GozNym network, led by a man from Tbilisi, Georgia, used phishing emails to infect the computers of more than 41,000 victims with malware. Specialised members of the group in Bulgaria and Ukraine then seized control of victims’ online bank accounts and transferred their funds to laundering accounts.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Indonesia has a $412b plan to rebuild the country

Indonesia is drafting ambitious plans for more than $400b in building projects, from constructing 25 airports to new power plants, as the government seeks to stoke growth in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, according to the country’s planning minister. The sweeping proposal calls for a record Rp5,957t ($412b ) in investments from 2020 to 2024, Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said in an interview this week. As much as 40% of the total will be funded directly by the government, 25% through state-owned enterprises and the rest through the private sector, he said.


City to build integrated office building for officials in Tanah Abang

The city administration has announced plans to move the offices of several agencies and city-owned companies to an area in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, to address problems in the district that is home to Southeast Asia’s biggest textile market. The city also plans to invite commuter line operator Kereta Commuter Indonesia (KCI) to join the project for the new office building in Jatibaru, Tanah Abang.


AirAsia set to serve Jakarta-Phuket route

Low-cost carrier AirAsia is set to open a new direct route from Jakarta to Phuket in Thailand starting July 2. The new route will be available three times a week. Other direct flights served by AirAsia from Thailand to Indonesia are Jakarta-Bangkok, Medan-Bangkok and Denpasar-Bangkok.


Contactless Visa cards can be used for public transport

From June 6, commuters will be able to use their contactless Visa cards to pay for public transport fares, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA). This is part of LTA’s SimplyGo initiative, which allows commuters to use their credit cards or mobile wallets — such as Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay or Google Pay — when they ride the bus or MRT, without having to top them up. LTA said that it was “encouraged” by commuters’ response to the service, which was first made available to Mastercard holders last month.

Australian politicians woo voters on Chinese WeChat

Australia’s longest-serving government politician, conservative Kevin Andrews, is campaigning on Chinese social media app WeChat to fight off a challenge from a Chinese-speaking rival in Saturday’s election. Although the WeChat platform figured only sparingly in the last election, it is a major campaign tool this time, as politicians employ Chinese speakers to run channels in areas where large numbers of voters speak Mandarin and Cantonese. Andrews’ campaign has posted a handful of messages, including a lunar new year greeting in Chinese.